I hate to report this, but the Father Scruffle Smiff 'just walk away hoss' spiritual revival movement has not as yet really caught fire. Seems way too many folks are still not taking the rational option of strategic default.As an inquiringly-minded NYT columnist notes:
"Millions of American homeowners are “underwater,”... In Nevada, nearly two-thirds of homeowners are in this category. Yet most of them are dutifully continuing to pay their mortgages, despite substantial financial incentives for walking away from them"Don't ya just hate to read stuff like that? What in hell explains this hypertrophied sucker play? I hope not some misplaced community enforced morality... but i dunno. And guess what In states with non-recourse mortgages, it's even worse, 'cause the rubes paid for a walk-away option. Again, the NYT:
"In a report prepared for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Susan Woodward, an economist, estimated that home buyers in such states paid an extra $800 in closing costs for each $100,000 they borrowed. These fees are not made explicit to the borrower, but if they were, more people might be willing to default, figuring that they had paid for the right to do so."That is, you have a blanket license at any time for any reason to default on a non-recourse loan. You paid for that right up front. "They" of course can shut off the damn credit spigot on ya for it... but that only means something if the spigot's presently turned on for you in the first place.
Speaking of hidebound prig-sticker morality, here's my idea of a real asswipe doing a no-harm no-foul flyby on this whole business. It's from the industrious quill of none other then Mr Mark Thoma of the Thomatic poisoning site 'Econo Mist View':
"I think that people in non-recourse states understood the option a bit differently... If medical costs wipe you out, if the demand for the widgets you produce falls permanently causing you to lose your job and also have trouble finding a new one, or if other things out of your control cause you to be unable to pay your mortgage, then you won't lose your car, furniture, heirlooms, etc. in a forced liquidation to pay of as much as possible of the remaining balance on the housing loan. Non-recourse protects you fro losing everything. But a change in the price itself wasn't part of the deal. You get to keep the upside, but have to eat the downside-that's how it worked and you knew that going in. At least, that's how I always understood the implicit deal (enforced in part by a fear of losing access to credit in the future, social norms, etc.).... Following this implicit rule lowers costs for everyone..."What a goodie goodie dupe sap guff of a call that is. What a rubber hammer of pettifogging conformity. Mr Thoma... may you live forever... totally underwater.